It is early Saturday morning. Monica jumps out of bed, takes a glass from her dresser, but just as she wants to take a sip, she realises that the glass is empty.

She slowly walks to the window and pulls open her curtains. She looks through the window and sees her neighbor and friend Marry hanging clothes on the washing line.

She immediately turns away and gets into the shower as though she remembered that she needed to be somewhere. After this, she quickly grabs her handbag and a sandwich to snack on and off she goes into town.

From Queens Park to Edgars, she buys uncontrollably. It’s an excessive, expensive, time-consuming retail activity.

In Woolworths, she notices Mary from a distance. She hides behind shoe shelves so that her friend would not see her.

Monica is pushing a full trolley with a variety of items from clothes to chocolates, shoes to make-up. Now she is shying away from every person she knows. All off a sudden, John, an old friend calls her.

She shivers as she opens her handbag to answer the phone: “John, I’m home, still in bed. Call you later.” She looks at her watch – it is already past three.

At home, Monica opens her walk-in closet. It’s completely full and some items are still unused, sealed as though they were bought today.

She lays down on her bed and regretfully stares at her receipt.

How can you spot a compulsive buyer?

• They tend to buy items when they’re stressed, feel lonely or simply out of anger.
• They frequently buy items they don’t need.

• Most of their items go unused.

• Sometimes, while they’re shopping, they shy away from friends.

What are the consequences of compulsive buying?

• A ruined credit history, anxiety, extreme debt that can lead to theft and bankruptcy.
• Stress may lead to physical and psychological harm to the person and their health, which in turn can eventually lead to suicide.
Test yourself

1. Do you think Monica is a compulsive buyer or not?

2. What is compulsive buying?

3. What are the characteristics of a compulsive buyer?

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